Monday, March 12, 2012

Just a Thought: Every Doctrine Is Essential

"Let's focus on the essentials." This is a rather common phrase when Christians speak about doctrine. "Let's focus on the essentials." This phrase is typically uttered when two Christians disagree on a particular point of doctrine.

It is true not every doctrine articulated in the Word of God is soteriologically essential--meaning not every doctrine must be articulated to and understood by an unbeliever for the unbeliever to understand the gospel and come to genuine repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. However, every doctrine in the Word of God is essential. The reason: "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Too often phrases like "let's focus on the essentials" is the verbalization of laziness and a lack of spiritual discipline. As Paul instructed Timothy so, too, should every Christian follow the apostle's instruction. "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved,[b] a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15).

While there are varying opinions about the meaning of Scripture, about the meaning and application of the Bible's many doctrines; there is only one valid interpretation of God's Word--God's. While Christians can "agree to disagree" regarding the interpretation of Christian doctrine, such agreement is never an excuse for laziness in biblical study. All of God's Word is essential. All of God's Word is profitable. Every doctrine matters.

Will a Christian, any Christian, come to a full and right understanding of every doctrine this side of Heaven? No. But every Christian should study and strive to "rightly handle the word of truth." Every doctrine within the Word of God is essential, or God wouldn't have given His doctrines to His people, the Church.

Yes, Christian, focus on the essentials. All of them!

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